Posts filed under ‘Lunch’
All this hot summer weather makes me crave three things: crisp salads, fresh fruits and food with a Mexican flare. It brings me back to my Texas roots where Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican restaurants are everywhere. Chips with table-side guacamole and tacos or fajitas are my go-to so I am always up for a new twist on an old favorite to “get my fix”. Enter this tacos!
Fruit + avocado + crunchy cabbage and crisp cauliflower in handheld form – hello summer! There’s something fun about eating with your hands, right? This flavor combination is a total win! I was blown away by it’s complexity – zesty lime juice, sweet fresh mango, warm and almost nutty cauliflower with crunchy cabbage and velvety avocado topped off with a tangy yogurt drizzle…wow.
This taco recipe was lightly adapted from Fried Ice and Donut Holes blog that I was assigned for this month’s Secret Recipe Club reveal. Talk about a fun name for a site! I LOVED scanning through Melissa’s blog…her food style is right up my alley: lots of vegetarian options, salads and yummy breakfasts. I searched her recipes multiple times while I was hungry…mmmm, a bad (but oh-so-good) idea since I wanted to eat my computer screen :)
At first peek, both Melissa’s Crispy Avocado and BLT Salad and Buffalo Chicken Burgers with Spicy Celery Slaw called my name (who doesn’t love avocado, bacon and tomato?) but without eating nightshades, these recipes are “on hold” for now. Oh, and her Mexican Chocolate Tart with Cinnamon-Spiced Pecans looked and sounded sinfully delicious! I ultimately chose her Crispy Cauliflower Tacos with Mango Salsa— love the concept, love the taste and YES, I will be making these again for sure!
Based on my dietary restrictions, I switched up a few things. I made my own grain-free cauliflower tortillas but any tortillas can be subbed here (corn, gluten-free etc). I reduced the amount of oil bit and subbed finely crushed plantain chips for a grain-free swap for the breadcrumbs. I sliced the avocado instead if mashing and used dairy-free coconut milk yogurt in place of the the sour cream. In the mango salsa, I eliminated the jalapeño (nightshade) and didn’t miss it at all!
Crispy Cauliflower Tacos with Mango Salsa (Adapted from Fried Ice and Donut Holes’ recipe)
Grain-free option, Gluten-free, Egg-free option, Vegetarian, Vegan Option, Dairy-free, Nut-free, Nightshade free option, Soy-free, Paleo and AIP friendly
For the Mango Salsa
1 Mango, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/2 Red Onion, finely diced (about 1/4 cup)
1 Jalapeño, seeded and finely diced (omit for AIP and Nightshade-free)
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 Lime, juiced
1/2 cup Cilantro, coarsely chopped
Salt and Pepper, to taste
For the Crispy Cauliflower
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 head Cauliflower, cut into small florets
6 Tbsp gluten-fee Panko breadcrumbs, divided OR crushed plantain chips or sweet potato chips (AIP/Paleo/Grain-free)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
For the Tacos
8-10 Small Tortillas (I made Grain-free Cauliflower Tortillas)*
1/2 Lime, juiced
1 cup Shredded Cabbage (I used green but red would be great too)
Dairy-free Yogurt or AIP Friendly mayo (or Sour Cream if you can do dairy)
For the Mango Salsa
1. Combine the mango, onion, jalapeño (if using), and garlic in a bowl. Toss with lime juice and fold in cilantro.
2. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and set aside.
For the Cauliflower
1. Working in batches, heat half of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower and cook until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 7-10 minutes.
2. Toss with half of the panko/plantain/chips and cook until have become golden brown, 2-3 minutes.
3. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove the cauliflower from the skillet into a bowl and repeat with the remaining oil, cauliflower, and panko/plaintain/chips.
For the Tacos and Serving
1. To assemble tacos, mash the avocado with the lime juice.
2. Spread some avocado onto a tortilla and top with cabbage, cauliflower, salsa, and sour cream.
Serves 4 (2 tacos each)
For other recipes from this month’s reveal, please click the link below!
Squash is an everyday staple at the moment – from zucchini and yellow squash to butternut, acorn and kabocha, I eat it all…all the time. Im finding it interesting that some of my favorite foods that used to agree with me are simply off-limits for now. Take peanut butter and nuts for example, I had several varieties on a daily basis and now my stomach just can’t handle it. Gluten-free grains such as rice and quinoa fall into the same category.
Starchy vegetables have been the easiest for my body to accept – carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, winter squash, and beets are being consumed by the pounds. I wish I could tell you I was joking! I never thought I could eat so many foods with an orange hue…and I can’t tell if my hands are tinted orange from the constant prep of these ingredients or if it’s a result of all the Vitamin A I am consuming. However, orange is better than a green or purple glow so I won’t complain too much ;)
A variation of this soup is made on a weekly basis as a back-up option for quick lunches, last minutes dinners or an easy snack. Sometimes I’ll throw in some sweet potatoes in place of the cauliflower or add some coconut cream for richness with some spices for a different flavor. This soup is versatile and comforting, feel free to experiment with add-ins for serving to jazz it up a bit — Avocado, baby greens, infused oils, more roasted carrots or squash cubes (if you like a bit of texture in your soup) and caramelized onions are all great options. If you’re looking to bump up the protein, I imagine cooked white beans, quinoa, shredded chicken or hemp seeds would compliment this soup quite well. If you like to make dishes ahead, whip up a big pot of this soup and reheat throughout the week!
Triple Squash Veggie Soup
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free, Vegan/Vegetarian option, Nightshade-free, Paleo/AIP-friendly
2-3 cups cauliflower florets*
3 medium carrots, diced
1 1/2 cups bone broth, low-sodium veggie broth or chicken stock (use veggie stock for vegetarian/vegan)
2 stalks celery, rough chopped
1 medium onion or 1 leek, rough chopped (optional but adds flavor)
1 medium zucchini, chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 medium yellow squash, chopped into 1 inch cubes
cooked flesh from 1/2 medium spaghetti squash (about 2 cups)**(see notes below)
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3/4 – 1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
freshly ground pepper to taste
Drizzle of olive oil (about 1-2 Tbsp, I used garlic-infused oil)
fresh juice from 1 lemon
drizzle of apple cider vinegar or coconut vinegar (or more lemon juice. I like a generous drizzle but I enjoy the acidity)
For serving (optional)
drizzle of olive oil (I used garlic Italian herb infused oil) – pictured
handful of leafy greens (baby spinach, kale, swiss chard) – pictured
zucchini cheese (recipe to come) or your favorite cheese
fresh avocado, cubed or sliced
fresh chopped herbs (basil, parsley, cilantro)
1. In a medium dutch oven or soup pot filled with 3 inches of water over high heat, add cauliflower, carrots, celery and onion to a steamer basket and cook until almost tender (roughly 5-7 minutes).
2. Add zucchini and yellow squash on top and steam for another 2 minutes or so until tender and let cool slightly. Reserve some of the cooking water just in case you need to add it to a blender.
3. Add broth, rosemary, olive oil, lemon, vinegar, salt and pepper to a high-powered blender (such as a Vitamix). Top with steamed veggies and puree in a until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. If you have a smaller blender, you may need to do this in batches, please be careful with hot contents in a closed blender!
4. If you want the soup thinner, add a bit of reserved cooking liquid. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper, lemon juice etc and serve!
*Cauliflower adds creaminess to the soup, but you can swap this out for cooked sweet potato (Japanese sweet potatoes are a favorite!) or even white potato if you can eat them. White potatoes are not nightshade-free, paleo or AIP friendly (just in case you need to follow that eating style).
**To cook a spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the strings and the seeds. Cook cut-side down at 350F for 30-40 minutes until tender, based on the size of the squash. Sometimes I will put a couple tablespoons of water to steam in the bottom of a baking pan to steam it a bit while baking. After you remove the squash from the oven, let cool and take a fork to scrape out the “spaghetti” looking strands/flesh. If you like soup with some texture, don’t blend the spaghetti squash and add it in at the end for serving.
Notes: if you want to bump up the protein, feel free to add your favorite protein of choice – cooked beans, shredded chicken, hemp seeds or cooked quinoa if you’d like!
Weeknight dinners can be a chore when you’re in a time-crunch, especially if you’re hungry and ready to eat. While the idea of meal planning is fantastic and I try to schedule out meals for the work-week, yet sometimes I “live on the edge”….or that’s what I tell myself when I’m forced to wing it and try to whip up something different with ingredients I have on hand.
Thus, this chorizo ragu was born. Quick, simple and tasty…yay for spontaneous dinners! Plus, add some bonus points since you can make this ahead; the leftovers are deeeelicious! If you prefer to prep meals on the weekend to get a jumpstart to your busy week, this dish might be on your next to-make list. If you want a filling grain-free meal packed with veggies and nutrition, give this one a go as well :)
Slightly spicy and loaded with smoky flavor from the cumin and paprika, this Mexican-inspired ragu packed with protein, fiber, veggies to keep you full AND satisfied. The squeeze of fresh lime really makes the spices and flavors pop and brightens the dish so I’d advise not the leave that out :)
If you don’t have spaghetti squash, serve this ragu over fresh greens for a spin on a warm taco salad or even your favorite cooked grain (like quinoa or brown rice) for a burrito bowl type meal. I had a little bit of the ragu leftover and served it over a baked sweet potato for lunch…YUM. Yep, I’ll be doing that again soon!
Chorizo Ragu over Spaghetti Squash
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo-friendly, Vegetarian/Vegan option, Nut-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free
1 medium spaghetti squash, halved and deseeded
2/3 lb gluten free chorizo (can use chicken chorizo or vegetarian chorizo)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 jalapeno, deseeded and deveined, minced OR several shakes of ground cayenne pepper (omit if you don’t want added heat)
1/2 small onion, sliced or chopped (about 2/3 cup)
1 bell pepper, diced (red, yellow or orange)
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 cups cooked black or pinto beans
2-4 cups of spinach or swiss chard, collards or kale, de-stemmed, deveined and chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
squeeze of fresh lime
sea salt and pepper to taste
shredded cheddar or monterrey jack cheese, optional (omit for vegan and/or dairy free)
fresh cilantro for serving, optional
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly drizzle olive oil over squash and season with salt and pepper. Place squash cut side down onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until tender, roughly 30-35 minutes based on size. Once cooked, let cool slightly then scrape with a fork to create strands and set aside for serving.
2. While squash cooks, prepare the “ragu”. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add chorizo and onion. If using a really lean chorizo or a vegetarian substitute, saute in 1 Tbsp of oil. Saute until cooked through and no longer pink and lightly browned.
3. Add garlic, cumin, paprika and jalapeno or red pepper (if using) and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to one minute.
4. Add bell pepper, tomato and beans and cook for 3-4 minutes. Toss in spinach/greens and cook another minute or two until wilted.
5. Add cilantro the the skillet along with fresh squeezed lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Serve ragu over cooked spaghetti squash. Sprinkle with grated cheese, diced avocado and/or additional cilantro if desired and enjoy!
Timesaver: You can cook the spaghetti squash a couple of days ahead or the night before to speed up prep time. Just reheat in the oven or in the skillet.
I purchased a Spiralizer a year ago, and wow has that little tool come in handy! Apple “noodles”, super-quick sweet potato fries and spiralized zucchini are just a few of my favorites. For some, zucchini noodles and spiralized ingredients might be old news but if this concept is new, I encourage you to give them a go. Plus, it’s fun…and who couldn’t use some extra fun?!
I continue to be amazed at the versatility of zucchini: what an incredible veggie. You can use zucchini noodles aka “zoodles” as a grain-free or light pasta replacement OR you can bulk up your pasta dishes so you can have half zoodles and half noodles…that way you can load up on veggies and still have your pasta without a carb-induced coma :) I’ve pureed zucchini for a bean-free hummus, used grated zucchini in a sweet quick bread and added it to smoothies to thicken and add some veg without affecting flavor.
Since Spring has sprung, lighter dishes have been on the menu. This dish is quick, crazy easy and packed with fresh and bright flavor! Plus, you can make it vegan by swapping out the chicken for an extra roasted veggie (think roasted marinated portabella mushrooms or roasted asparagus..mmmm). The creamy avocado sauce adds a punch of flavor from the fresh basil, garlic and bright lime or lemon juice, and the roasted broccoli lends a nutty flavor to this meal. This dish is packed with protein, healthy fats, fiber and nutrition and can be served as a power lunch or dinner…and if you manage to have leftovers, those are tasty right from the fridge :)
Creamy Zoodles with Chicken and Broccoli
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Egg-free, Dairy-free, Vegan Option, Vegetarian Option, Soy-free, Paleo-friendly, Nut-free
3 medium zucchini, spiralized
1 large or two small chicken breast, cooked & cubed* (For vegan/vegetarian option, use 2 cups sauteed mushrooms and/or roasted asparagus)
1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
2 small avocado 1 large avocado, pit removed and rough diced (will be pureed)
handful of fresh basil, chopped (roughly 1/2 cup) or cilantro
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
2 limes, juiced or 1 lemon, juiced (roughly 2 Tbsp or to taste)
1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1-2 Tbsp water or as needed
Optional garnish/serving ideas
hemp seed or pinenuts or slivered almonds (if adding nuts, will not be nut-free)
fresh basil, chiffonade
slices of fresh lemon or lime
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or grease with olive oil. Add broccoli florets to the pan, drizzle with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Cook for approximately 10-12 minutes or until broccoli is tender and lightly browned.
2. While broccoli is cooking, prepare the avocado lime sauce. Add avocado, lime/lemon juice, basil, minced garlic, salt and 1 Tbsp olive oil and pureed until smooth. Add a couple tablespoons of water to thin out the sauce as needed.
3. If you prefer a less crunchy and softer zucchini noodle, either steam or saute the noodles for a couple minutes until your desired texture.
4. Add chicken, broccoli and zucchini noodles to a mixing bowl or pot. Pour/spoon the avocado sauce over the ingredients and toss to combine. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper and lime/lemon juice.
5. Divide into serving dishes and top with more basil, pinenuts/hemp seeds/almonds if desired and serve!
*I baked two small chicken breasts simply seasoned with lemon pepper, salt and olive oil at 350F for 20 minutes. I let them cool off and then cut into bite-size pieces. You could also use 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken for a super quick lunch or dinner tossed with a little lemon.
**If you prefer to steam your broccoli, that’s ok too. I enjoy the depth of flavor from roasting them.
Serves approximately 3-4 people